Friday, August 13, 2010

It's All In the Stars

Today’s wake up call is 5:30am for our three hour drive to Abydos.  By now, I think everyone is used to the earlier wake up calls and driving long distances for hours.  This just means one thing to us: NAP TIME!!  

Abydos, although mostly buried,  spreads over five square miles and is composed of archaeological remains from all phases of Kemetic civilization.  It is the original center for Wosir (Osiris) and is most famous for its seven Holy of Holies dedicated to Sety I, Ptah, Re-Horakhty, Amun-Re, Wosir (Osiris), Auset (Isis), and Heru (Horus).   There is a back gateway oriented to the site of the old royal cemetery at Umm el-Gaab. The most distinctive and memorable pictures on the wall were the ones illustrating the myth of Osiris.  In this myth, Isis and her sister, Nephthys find Osiris after he was killed by Seth.  His death is not erased nor undone, but integrated into Maat (the divine order of the world). Osiris is awakened from his slumber and through transfiguration, Isis is able to impregnate herself by him, in order to conceive a son, who will avenge his father’s death.  The beauty of Abydos is seen through its imagery, which depicts more intimacy and affection between humanity than previously seen at other sites.  We also got to see the archaeological site of where it is thought Osiris to be buried.

The second stop of the day was to Dendera.  Dendera is the temple for Het Heru, also known as Hathor, the personification of love, motherhood, fertility, music, and dance.  She is represented with cow ears.  The thirty-four columns of the temple are headed with four sided heads of the cow goddess adding the spectacularity of the already amazing art on the walls and ceilings, which show off the extreme extent of the Egyptians knowledge of the sun, stars, and universe.  The ceilings illustrated their discovery of what we know today as horoscopes and how they measured time based on just studying the stars. AMAZING? INCREDIBLE? UNFATHOMABLE? UNBELIEVABLE? I know.  I gave up trying to find words to describe the works of the Egyptians a long time ago..........last week.

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